With 800 kilometers (500 miles) of navigable waterways, the Paulista stretch of the Tietê-Paraná Waterway contains ten reservoirs, 10 dams, 10 floodgates, 23 bridges, 19 boatyards and 30 intermodal cargo terminals. The waterway is part of a large multimodal transport system, providing an alternative export route - encompassing the States of São Paulo, Paraná, Mato Grosso do Sul, Goiás and Minas Gerais, a region covering 76 million hectares and producing almost half of Brazil's GDP, connecting production areas to the maritime ports and, going the other way, to the main centers in the Mercosul trade block.

The main products transported along the waterway are soy bean, soy bran, corn and derivatives, sugar cane, sand, lime and fertilizers. Between 2006 and 2012, cargo transportation along the waterway increased by around 50%, growing from 3.9 million tonnes to 6.2 million tonnes. Five private sector companies operate in the area: Louis Dreyfus, PBV/TMPM, ADM/Sartco, Cosan, Arealva and Izamar, according to 2012 data published by the State of São Paulo Waterway Department (DH).

Use of the waterway as a means of transportation has a number of benefits: lower fuel consumption, reduction of pollutant gas emissions (such as carbon dioxide - CO²) and less traffic on the roads, thus reducing the number of accidents and logistics costs.

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